SAN FRANCISCO—Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) and a computing performance benchmarking consortium traded shots in the form of public statements Tuesday (June 21) after AMD withdrew from the group.
AMD resigned from the consortium— Business Applications Performance Corp. (BAPCo)—and said it would not endorse one of the benchmarks it publishes, the SYSmark 2012 (SM2012).
"Technology is evolving at an incredible pace, and customers need clear and reliable measurements to understand the expected performance and value of their systems," said Nigel Dessau, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at AMD, in a statement. "AMD does not believe SM2012 achieves this objective."
BAPCo fired back with a statement of its own later in the day which claimed that AMD supported more than 80 percent of the SM2012 development milestones and refuted an accusation that BAPCo threatened to expel AMD, which was made by Dessau in a blog posting on AMD's website.
SM2012 is the latest version of a benchmark that compares PC performance based on real-world applications, including Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, Adobe Acrobat, WinZip, Autodesk AutoCAD and 3ds Max, and others. Previous versions include SYSmark 2007 and SYSmark 2004.
It's not the first time AMD has butted heads with BAPCo. In 2002, AMD was angered by revisions to the benchmark that it claimed benefited archrival Intel Corp.
Dean McCarron, principal analyst at market research and consulting firm Mercury Research, said disagreements between hardware makers and firms that create benchmarks happen from time to time. "Occasionally there have been some disputes—and it looks like this is one of them—when the testing disagrees with what one of the hardware manufacturers have done," McCarron said.
According to McCarron, BAPCo originally had a tight relationship with Intel and was actually housed within Intel at the beginning. Over time, he said, more companies subscribed to BAPCo and it became a true consortium, he said. "I'm not saying that there is any specific bias, but that is the genesis [of BAPCo]," McCarron said.
In his blog posting, dated Tuesday, Dessau wrote that AMD has argued for about a year that the SYSmark benchmark is misleading with respect to today’s commonplace applications. The heart of AMD's argument is that the SYSmark benchmark is comprised of unrepresentative workloads that ignore the importance of heterogeneous computing—benefiting Intel—and generates misleading results, he wrote.
Dessau wrote that AMD's resignation from BALCo was not about long-running antagonism between AMD and Intel, but about fairness, relevance and openness. He called for other firms to join with AMD to create a new consortium to rival BAPCo.
"BAPCo is disappointed that a former member of the consortium has chosen once more to violate the confidentiality agreement they signed, in an attempt to dissuade customers from using SYSmark to assess the performance of their systems," BAPCo said in its statement.
BAPCo refuted Dessau's acquisition that the consortium threatened to expel AMD despite what it called "previous violations of its obligations to BAPCo under the consortium member agreement."
BAPCo said it believes the performance measured in each of the six scenarios in SM2012 "fairly reflects the performance that users will see when fully utilizing the included applications."
BAPCo's membership roster includes high-tech heavyweights such as Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, Intel, Lenovo, Microsoft, Samsung, Seagate, Sony and Toshiba, among others.